Hybrid sittings, virtual meetings no longer ad hoc

Hybrid sittings and virtual Committee meetings are now firmly part of the Fijian Parliament’s way of conducting its business.

His Excellency the Honourable Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau made the comment while addressing a panel discussion at the 51 st Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference (‘Conference’) held at the Victoria Parliament in Melbourne, Australia last week.

The Honourable Speaker informed the participants consisting of presiding officers and clerks of Parliaments from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific that the Fijian Parliament’s Standing Orders provided some leeway in how Parliament conducts its business during disruptive events like the

“The hybrid sittings and virtual Committee inquiries are no longer ad hoc, but the system and practices are now mainstreamed into Parliamentary work to be used as and when required,” he said.

“Most Members now appreciate the value of attending the sitting and Committee meetings and inquiries virtually,” he said.

The Conference was held from the 4th to the 8th of July at the Victoria Parliament in Melbourne, Australia. The main Conference proceedings took place in the Victorian Legislative Assembly Chambers and was attended by delegates from the Federal and State Parliaments of Australia and legislatures from New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Niue and Kiribati.

The Fijian Parliament has a twinning programme with the Victorian Parliament.

The theme of this year’s Conference – Democracy’s Way Forward – focused on the many challenges that Parliaments faced in a rapidly changing world and their responsibility to seize the opportunity to strengthen and revitalise democracy. The Conference provided an opportunity for the Presiding Officers and Clerks to discuss issues confronting their respective Parliaments in the past two years and actions taken for the way forward.